Jukka Ruusunen, President and CEO of Fingrid and alumnus of the School of Electrical Engineering, visited the AlumniStudent Weekend seminar organised in Otaniemi on 29 October. Before moving on to business life, he worked in different academic positions for thirteen years. He holds the title of docent in two fields at Aalto University – technology and business.
In his speech, Ruusunen recommended market-oriented production of electricity when both the Nordic Countries and Europe develop low carbon electricity production.
‘A broad-based perspective is required in order to understand the market mechanism. In addition to understanding technology, we also have to understand the laws of economics,’ he said.
Ruusunen reminds everyone of the fact that Finland is extremely dependent on imported electricity. In the electricity system, everything affects everything.
‘The storage of electricity has not been solved on a large scale, even though I have wished that for Christmas for years. Therefore, the system is always under pressure during peak hours, and that is when it is important that the price mechanism moves electricity to where it is needed,’ he says.
Ruusunen warns about subsidised production, which can ruin the market mechanism.
‘An investment doesn’t help, if it is not subject to the rules of the markets.’
He also challenges technology experts to join the preparation of the energy and climate strategy.
‘The participation of experts of economics and society alone is not enough. The comprehensive functioning of the markets requires a broad understanding of the entire system. This is where I challenge the technology experts from Aalto University to join the preparation of this important matter,’ he says.
Alumnus of the year has an entrepreneurial mindset
The traditional AlumniStudent Weekend again gathered together about 200 students and alumni to discuss health technology, smart automation and data science. Unlike previous years, the School of Electrical Engineering chose the first alumnus of the year in its history. He is Varun Singh, DSc (Tech.), who is a start-up entrepreneur.
‘Varun is an excellent role model. He is entrepreneurially minded and good at networking. He moved to Finland 10 years ago from a very different culture, and has integrated into the Finnish society brilliantly. CALLSTATS I/O Oy currently employs more than ten people and has amassed almost €3 million in risk financing. Varun’s contribution to the promotion of communications expertise and start-up culture in Finland has been invaluable,’ says the school’s dean Jyri Hämäläinen, in his speech.
Another company promoting Finland’s innovative profile is Synoste, a company that lengthens bone with smart metal using a method based on the research and development conducted at Aalto University by Harri Hallila, Juha Haaja and Antti Ritvanen, the founders of the company. Juha Haaja attended the seminar and in his speech gave tips about setting up a company and told the story of Synoste. He particularly emphasised the importance of the business plan in the beginning.
‘From the very beginning, you need to have an understanding of the business idea and how you are going to make money with the idea in future. We were lucky ourselves when we took part in Venture Cup in 2009. We were given good tips for our business plan there, and soon after that we were already able to start the development.’
Students, who were allowed to have a say in the structure of this year’s programme, were interested especially in the experiences of start-up entrepreneurs and the news from companies. The seminar was organised by the alumni organisations Sähköklubi, BioDI and automation and systems technology, the School of Electrical Engineering guilds Sähköinsinöörikilta, Inkubio and automation and systems technology, the club for students of electrical power engineering, Energiajohtajat ry and the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering. Alumni and students will meet again in the seminar in twelve months’ time at the latest.
Varun Singh Alumnus of the Year of the School of Electrical Engineering in 2016
Limb-lengthening implant developer Synoste raises several million in funding
Photos: Anita Nuutinen